Pension Benefits

Will You Get a Pension?
If you don’t join the pension, besides not getting a pension, you will not get health insurance continuation and union benefits, such as prescription/dental/optical benefits.   Full time workers are enrolled in the BERS pension program once they fill out the forms, however, if they never filled out forms & returned them to BERS, they aren’t enrolled.  You should make sure that BERS has your completed forms.  Part time workers such as school aides, health aides, lunch helpers, family auxiliary paras, school crossing guards, and FIA’s are not automatically enrolled in the retirement system.  They won’t get any benefits if they don’t join BERS.   Local 372 fought a long and hard battle to get meaningful pension benefits for our members. Previously, our members were not entitled to a pension. Join the retirement system to get these benefits to better your financial future.   Find out if you are in the pension, call the Health & Pension Unit, 212-815-1200. To contact BERS, call 718-935-5400.

What is the Difference Between a 401-K and Our Pension?
Your BERS pension, considered a “traditional” pension, is a defined benefit pension which guarantees the retiree a fixed monthly income.  A 401-K plan is a defined contribution plan which does not guarantee fixed monthly income to the retiree.  Having a secure  and fixed monthly income is an important part of ensuring that senior citizens have economic stability  when they retire.

Your defined benefit pension has three components of funding: the employer contributes to the plan, the employee contributes to the plan, and investment earnings help fund the plan.  The employer  guarantees  to pay the retiree a fixed monthly income for life.  In the past, most private companies, in addition to government workers, provided their employees with defined benefit pensions.  Now, due to greed of corporate executives, most defined benefit pensions in the private sector have been eliminated.  Why? Most employers don’t want to contribute money any more to their employees retirement.  They care about the company’s bottom line and squeezing all profits out of the company to distribute among executives and corporate shareholders.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20% of workers in the private sector have defined benefit pensions.